Article

Network Television Revenue Sharing and Competitive Balance in the NFL

Ira Horowitz and G. E. Whittenburg

in The Oxford Handbook of Sports Economics

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780195387773
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195387773.013.0012

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Network Television Revenue Sharing and Competitive Balance in the NFL

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This chapter explores the role of television in the post-1949 history of the National Football League, with specific respect to the network contracts and more recent media trends. It then addresses the extent to which the revenue-sharing codicil, which commissioner Bert Bell saw as helping the weak, has contributed to achieving competitive balance. Additionally, the chapter discusses how professional football grew from obscurity (at first teams paid to televise games as a promotional tool) to become the most popular team sport in the United States. It is noted that the effect of revenue sharing on competitive balance, although likely modest, could go in either direction. The sharing of television revenues has not contributed to maintaining competitive balance. Competition in the standings has declined in concert with the steady increases in the shared revenues, and games have tended to become somewhat less competitive.

Keywords: National Football League; network television revenues; revenue sharing; Bert Bell; competitive balance; United States

Article.  9606 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Industry Studies ; Financial Institutions and Services

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